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The government of Zambia grants a TV permit to the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church elated by approval of Television Permit
The Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) is delighted with the approval by the Independent Broadcasting Authority of a television construction permit and looks forward to making the Catholic television station a reality.
The granting of the permit to construct a television station is a culmination of a long pursuit for the station, dating back to 2002 when ZEC initiated the first application to the authorities and since then has been following up the matter. The Catholic Bishops of Zambia are naturally grateful to the government for granting the construction permit. It has been a very long wait, but worthwhile.
The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) through its chairperson, Mr Emmanuel Mwamba formally announced on 18 October 2013 the granting of a television construction permit.
As far back as 1995, the Catholic Bishops of Zambia decided, following the first African Synod meeting in Rome, to use the media as a pastoral priority. The Bishops decided that they would use especially radio and television as means of evangelisation. In this context, evangelisation was and still is understood in a wider and holistic context of promoting gospel values that enhance the well-being of men and women, wherever they are to be found and without discrimination.
This view is further enhanced by referring to a papal encyclical (letter) to the Catholic Church, Redemptoris Missio No. 37c, of Pope John Paul II who said, “After preaching in a number of places, Saint Paul arrived in Athens, where he went to the Areopagus and proclaimed the Gospel in a language appropriate to and understandable in those surroundings (Acts 17:22-31). At that time the Areopagus represented the cultural centre of the learned people of Athens, and today it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed. The first Areopagus of the modern age is the
world of communications.”
It is therefore anticipated that the new Catholic television station will in fact belong to both Catholics and non-Catholics, meaning all Zambians. This will be in keeping with the approach of the Catholic Church towards its public institutions such as hospitals, schools and other similar institutions. These institutions are readily accessible to the public regardless of their religious persuasion.
It is common knowledge that establishing a television station is a mammoth and expensive undertaking and the Catholic Church in Zambia is under no illusion in this regard. With support and cooperation from all Catholics and all Zambians of goodwill as they rally around the idea of a Catholic TV, the station will truly provide a change that will promote the best of Zambian values and become the preferred television channel of wholesome family viewing, on account of appropriate programming.
The Zambia Episcopal Conference remains equally committed to three other radio projects that are still in the offing and which will be spearheaded by different dioceses. These include the establishment of a diocesan community radio station in Kasama, Radio Lutanda as well as Sesheke FM to be established in Sesheke. Similarly, Chipata Diocese hopes that now that the Independent Broadcasting Authority is in the process of clearing a backlog of radio applications for frequencies, the pending request (lodged with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in 2008) to turn Radio Maria into a national radio station will be favourably considered. Unlike other Catholic radio stations in Zambia, Radio Maria is predominantly a faith radio that promotes prayer in Christian homes.
Fr. Paul Samasumo,
24 October 2013.